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Full text of "Annual Evaluation Report Fiscal Year 1984"

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501-3

C.  Costs, Benefits and Effectiveness (Continued)

Table 1 shows the most recent four years of data for first-time, full-time
dependent freshmen surveyed by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program
(CIRP). The average awards are quite comparable to those obtained from
overall program data (in academic year 1981-82 CIRP average = $847, program
average = $849; in academic year 1982-83 CIRP average = $887, program average
$931). The larger value in program data shows the effect of financially =
independent students who tend to receive larger Pell grants than dependent
students.

Of interest in Table 1 is the decline in the percent of cost, which repre-
sents the portion of educational cost covered by the Pell award. In all
income categories, this factor has decreased, with the most noticeable changes
occurring at the extremes of the income range. Thus, although Pell grants
have increased in amount (this agrees with program data for all recipients),
costs of education have increased even more.

Table 1 also shows that for the total population of freshmen (last column
of table), the decline in the percentage of students receiving Pell grants
ended in academic year 1982-83, with a return towards the academic year
1980-81 level. This seems to be consistent with the applicant increase
shown by the program data for academic year 1983-84, i.e. more were applying
and presumably more were getting aid. The high recipient rate and fraction
of cost covered in the lowest income group of Table 1 suggests that the
legislative intent, to provide a floor of support for low-income students,
is being met.

The percent of freshmen aided in academic year 1982-83 was 24.1 percent which
agrees very favorably with the previous estimate of 24 percent of all under-
graduates receiving Pell grants.

An interesting fact in the distribution of Pell funds is the marked growth
of the share taken by proprietary schools over the same four-year period.
Table 2 shows authorization amounts and number of recipients for public,
private, and proprietary schools. The increase in the proprietary share
is about two-thirds in the period shown.

D.  Plansfor Program Improvement and Recommendations for Legislation

The Administration stressed the importance of parental and student contribu-
tions to meeting college costs before Federal student aid is considered.
Currently, a student calculates the amount of Federal aid obtainable (such
as grants, low-cost loans and work-study funds) and then looks to parents or
self-help for additional funds. Under the Administration's policy, the
amount of the family contribution and self-help would be calculated first,
before the student qualifies for any grants.

The Department of Education is developing regulations for validating appli-
cant data, based on the results of quality control studies and external
reports. It is also pursuing an evaluation of electronic delivery capability
to reduce the time to process applications and to improve the accuracy of
the procedure. This system would make it much easier to verify Pell awards.
Both efforts -- the new regulations and electronic grant awards  could
significantly reduce fraud and abuse in the distribution of Pell grants.                                 21,246